Just to put Brexit into perspective

This is a simple way to do your bit towards saving the planet. I am firmly convinced that it is only by moderating our own individual behavior and by reducing our consommation of everything that the planet on which we live can be saved. It is an act of taking responsibility, not leaving it to others or waiting until it is legally required. Act now!

Don’t know how to save the planet? < This is what you can do >

International Women’s Day

08 March 2019 is International Women’s Day, when we acknowledge the achievements and struggles of women everywhere.

International Women’s Day was started by women from all over the world more than 100 years ago. Originally conceived by the Socialist Party of America as National Woman’s Day in 1909, since 1914 International Women’s Day has been held on 8 March when people from labour movements took to the streets to fight for the rights of women.

Many Labour groups are also holding events at this weekend and we have links in this posting to pieces written by women such as Labour’s equalities lead Dawn Butler who has summarized the party’s priorities and policy pledges and reminds us that Tory austerity has disproportionately affected women. [Dawn Butler: “Let’s build on our radical agenda to empower women”]

Ever wondered what the EU has done for women? All female Labour MEPs have come together to write a piece for LabourList on their gender equality work in Europe and how EU laws have helped make progress. [They say Brexit could hinder those goals for women.]

‘Britain is an island? No shit, Sherlock.’

Britain is an island? No shit, Sherlock.’

Quite.  You don’t just dare put the thought into words but then there they are, the ignorance and arrogance beggars belief.  Thank goodness for rational thought somewhere, anywhere, but fear it will not be enough to get us out of this mess.

A bad Brexit will not be as terrible as the Suez crisis.  It will be far worse 
[Andrew Rawnsley  Opinion in The Guardian 11 Nov 2018.]

Labour Conference 2018 Pledges

Labour Conference 2018 Pledges

Labour Conference 2018 produced many policy pledges that will definitely be in the next  manifesto.  There was much debate about the way Tory economic policy is widening the gap between the few stinking rich and the many.  Conference concentrated on business and the economy, unlike the Tory conference that regurgitated the same old evil policies.  The Labour Party Conference came up with many pledges to change things for the better and get rid of austerity.

Here is a look at some of the policy pledges made at Conference 2018:

Large firms would be required to save a third of their boardroom seats for workers’ representatives; every company employing 250 or more staff to set up new employee ownership schemes, with firms shifting 1% of their equity into the fund every year, up to a total of 10%.

The establishment of a ‘Public and Community Ownership Unit’ in the Treasury to oversee the handover of privatised industries like water and rail to the state.  While most workers would be transferred over to the public sector, directors and executives would have to reapply for their jobs, which will be advertised with a salary no more than 20 times that of the lowest-paid worker in the company.

Control of the water industry – New ‘Regional Water Authorities’ will be run by local councils.

A Labour Government will completely eliminate carbon emissions by 2030 and create 410,000 new green energy jobs in the process which will be funded by a £250bn “national transformation fund”.

Other policies will include banning ATM charges in a bid to get more people spending on the high street.  A register of landlords who are sitting on empty shops will be set up and an annual revaluation of business rates alongside a “fundamental review” of the levies.  Also free public Wi-Fi access in town centres.

Double council tax on holiday homes to provide extra cash for homelessness services.  A promise to give cities the power to bring in rent controls, and a pledge to axe Section 21 of the Housing Act, which currently lets landlords take possession of their properties from tenants without a reason.  £20m to be made available to help get new German-style “renters’ unions” started.

A new £5m ‘Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund’ to cover the costs of getting to treatment centres.

Victims of domestic violence would get a legal right to take up to ten days of paid leave, in a move the party says will help women leave abusive partners and access support services.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner vowed to end “forced conversion” of struggling schools to academies and also ruled out allowing any new ‘free schools’ to be set up under a Labour government.

Childcare – 30 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two, three and four year olds – without means-testing.  Jeremy Corbyn also promised to provide extra, state-subsidised care above the 30-hour threshold, with parents on low incomes getting the additional hours for free and the richest paying “no more than £4 per hour” for a top-up.

Labour has been edging toward advocating the abolition of universal credit and at conference John McDonnell said that a fresh review would take place and was likely to conclude that replacement, not reform was the only answer.  He has since (07/10/2018) called for universal credit to be scrapped and accused Theresa May of falsely declaring an end to austerity amid reports that millions of families could lose up £200 a month when the new benefit is rolled out nationally.


Highlighting the Power of Social Media

Here’s an honest marker of what one news organisation is doing with your data; whilst recognising the current situation can be improved, it again highlights the power Facebook and co really have. I think it’s well worth supporting the Guardian so that they can continue to fund their investigative reporting.

Read Paul Chadwick 8 July 2018 – “Guardian readers are right to ask what we do with their data” [Here]

The Generation Pay Gap

The TUC has recently published a report on the pay gap between younger and older workers that is steadily getting worse. According to the TUC this generation gap between the average earnings of 21 to 30 year olds and from 31 to 64 year olds for a 40 hour week stands at £5,884 in 2017.

The Guardian has highlighted this in an interview with Francis O’Grady on the TUC at 150: ‘Unions have to change or die’ by Alexandra Topping [Here].


The Home Affairs select committee has been told a load of rubbish

Amber Rudd told the home affairs select committee that there were no targets for enforcing the removal of migrants. However, it has been shown that a document passed to her last year shows that she was well aware of them.  So she definitely knew of the targets that she now claims she will be abandoning the policy.

It’s now definitely too late for the Home Secretary to be ‘heartbroken’ as she claims! See this comment <Here>

Tory ruthless plan for hostile environment

Government knew for years that the Windrush generation hurt by “hostile environment” – Home Office letter dated May 2016 shows that ministers knew of immigration policy’s impacts.

A letter from a Home Office minister dated May 2016 and obtained by the Guardian newspaper shows that the government has known for years about the impact of its “hostile environment” policy on the Windrush generation.
A document from Amber Rudd, sent to Prime Minister May pledging to escalate the hostile environment was passed to the Guardian.  In it she set out her “ambitious” plan to increase removals and focus officials on “arresting, detaining and forcibly removing illegal migrants” while “ruthlessly” prioritising Home Office resources for the programme. Yet nobody has resigned! See article in <theguardian.com>

Solidarity and Equality

Mail to Members

Our Party was founded on the principles of solidarity and equality. We are proudly anti-racist, and at our best when we work together, uniting people in hope and against fear and division.

This week, Jewish leaders wrote to me to express their anger and upset about antisemitism in the Labour Party.

I want to assure you that prejudice against, and harassment of, Jewish people have no place whatsoever in our Party.

It’s important to develop a deeper understanding of what constitutes antisemitism.

Often it takes familiar forms, but newer forms of antisemitism have also appeared, sometimes woven into criticisms of the actions of Israeli governments.

Criticism of Israel, and support for the rights of the Palestinians, is entirely legitimate. Support for justice for the Palestinian people should provide no one with the excuse to insult, harass or encourage hatred of Jewish people.

And abuse and personal attacks of any kind, on social media or in person, are never acceptable.

I am committed to ensuring our Party is a welcoming and secure place for everyone. I offer all Jewish members my assurance that this applies equally to them. I want all of us to hear Jewish voices and listen.

If you are not Jewish, I want you to better understand the importance of this issue and what we can do together to ensure our Party remains true to our values.

Zero tolerance for antisemitism means what it says. We will not accept it.

We have to get this right, all of us. Because divided societies cannot achieve justice.

As we head into elections in May and look towards the next General Election whenever it might come, let’s take the lead in building a society free from prejudice. One that enables everyone to realise their full potential, and cares for all.

Thank you for supporting Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party